writing advice from Ben Marcus

“At a thousand words a day you’d finish a draft of your novel in two or three months, an absurdly quick pace. But did you do the math that suggested that at two hundred and fifty words a day you’d finish a draft in a year or so, still ridiculously fast, as far as novels go? And if you lowered your word count expectations, wouldn’t it stand to reason that those words would be more sharply gathered, more coherent, more precise? Would they be truer to your vision of your book, and would they more forcefully invite readers into the world you’re creating? Because you could bang out two hundred and fifty words and then revise them about a hundred times each day, maybe perfect them, rather than charging ahead just to get more words. More words are a fallacy……

We have not discussed what kind of book you will write, because this is up to you. Please let it be up to you. I beg you. It is your secret and it is almost all that matters. This is your book. The world has enough books that were written according to dreams or ideas other than your own. But it does not yet have your book. Please write only the book you most want to write, the book you wished existed in the world. The book must meet your own deepest desire for what a book can be. But of course you know this already. It’s why you started writing in the first place.”

(Read the full blog post here.)


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